Israel to reopen Erez crossing after 1-day closure

GAZA CITY – Israeli authorities are set to reopen the Erez border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Friday, the Palestinian border authority has said.

"Occupation forces will reopen [Erez] border crossing on Friday in both directions after it was closed on Thursday," the border authority in the Gaza Strip said in a press release.

Nazmi Mehanna, the head of the West Bank's border authority, had told the Anadolu Agency that Israeli forces closed the Erez crossing on Thursday after Palestinian border guards hired ed by the strip's previous government, which was run by Hamas movement, set up a "caravan" at the terminal.

For his part, Maher Abu Sabha, who leads the Gaza Strip's border authority, accused employees hired by the Palestinian Authority of closing the terminal, leaving many Palestinians -including patients -stranded at the border.

Abu Sabha said that that the Palestinian Authority's employees closed the border after they refused to allow two Hamas-hired border guards to step inside the terminal to seek shelter from rain.

He added that the Palestinian Authority's employees then closed the terminal after they claimed that Israeli authorities had refused to allow the Hamas-hired border guards to park the caravan at the terminal.

The Israeli government, for its part, has yet to comment on the incident.

The Palestinian Authority had been in charge of running the Erez border crossing since Israel refuses to recognize Hamas' government, which was set up after the group took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Blockaded by Israel – by air, land and sea – since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world.

Six of these crossings are controlled by Israel, while the seventh – the Rafah crossing – is controlled by Egypt, which keeps it tightly sealed for the most part.

Israel sealed four of its commercial crossings with Gaza in June 2007 after Hamas wrested control of the coastal territory from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

A recent truce deal between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza called for reopening the strip's border crossings with Israel, which, if implemented, would effectively end the latter's eight-year blockade of the territory.

This, however, has yet to be implemented.

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